|Angry Faneca skips Steelers workout, returns after Tomlin request|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 12 May 2007 13:59|
Faneca, the five-time All-Pro left guard, promised Friday this will be his final season in Pittsburgh after the two sides held only cursory offseason talks regarding a new contract. Faneca is in the final season of a contract that was initially worth about $25 million in 2002 but was subsequently renegotiated.
Still upset on Saturday, Faneca became angrier during the meeting with ownership - apparently, with team president Art Rooney II, the son of owner Dan Rooney. Faneca would not reveal what the remark was.
``It was something that was said,'' Faneca said. ``I'm just going to leave it at that.''
Asked whether he requested the meeting, or whether the Rooney family did so, Faneca said it was a little of both. But Faneca declined to tone down his comments made Friday, when asked again to be traded and called the Steelers unfair for making him play this season with no contract protection beyond it.
After Faneca was absent in the morning, Tomlin talked to him during lunch and requested he take part in the day's second practice, saying, ``I asked everybody to practice this afternoon, since it's a mandatory minicamp.''
Faneca, a six-time Pro Bowl guard, preferred to skip the entire minicamp. He has a flight back to his offseason home after the final workout Sunday, and he doesn't plan to return until training camp starts July 23. He will miss the post-minicamp voluntary team workouts that run until early June and, according to Tomlin, are highly important.
Faneca doesn't feel like he is missing much, even though new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is tweaking the system the Steelers ran previously under former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
``It's minicamp, it's not too intense,'' Faneca said. ``I'll be ready to go.''
The 30-year-old Faneca felt the Steelers misled him two years ago by asking him to wait his turn for a new deal, and he leveled some of the harshest criticism of them by a star player during an interview Friday.
The Steelers have rarely had a player of Faneca's stature so upset over a contract situation - Franco Harris' holdout in 1984 would be the closest example - and it is proving to be the first test for Tomlin, who succeeded 15-year coach Bill Cowher.
Faneca's unhappiness over his contract is not a unique problem, Tomlin said, and every NFL coach and team must deal with distractions, injuries and other problems. Tomlin suggested Faneca would be fined for missing a practice, but did not confirm that.
``Sure, it's an issue. More than anything else, it's got to be a lesson for us as a football team in that no season is without its ups and downs,'' Tomlin said. ``Adversity is part of it, distractions are part of it, and this is an opportunity to grow in that area and deal with some things and go out and play football. The standards and expectations are not going to change for our football team regardless of what's going on, whether somebody has personal issues or someone is playing or not because of injury. If nothing else, we're getting some positive out of this as a football team.''
The Steelers' two top draft picks, outside linebackers Lawrence Timmons (groin) and LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) remained out Saturday after getting hurt Friday. Also missing part of practice was newly signed running back Kevan Barlow (ankle), wide receiver Santonio Holmes (hamstring) and cornerback Bryant McFadden (ribs).